Chat with the Chief: Separation of church and state

“Religion is like a penis. It’s fine to have one and it’s fine to be proud of it but please don’t whip it out in public and start waving it around… and PLEASE don’t try to shove it down my child’s throat.”

I admit that I don’t know who said this originally but I’ve seen it floating around social media for years and I would be hardpressed to find a contemporary quote that I agree with more.

As a lapsed Catholic, I’m very open about my history with and feelings toward organized religion. These days I consider myself a loosely-spiritual Deist if we’re running around putting labels on things but I digress.

Few things bother me quite as much as people using religion to justify their horrible actions and hateful ideals but one of those things is when people try to use their personal religious views to oppress the rights of others. 

Separation of church and state is an idea that has been alive since the 17th century, so why are we still struggling with it?

This simple phrase and even simpler principle lies at the root of nearly every socio-political argument alive today. Abortion, sexual education, gay rights, trans rights, gender roles, women’s rights, divorce… You are entitled to your religious views. Your belief system is your right as a human being.

Your religious views are not my religious views. They should not dictate how I or anyone else lives their life. Arguing that marriage equality is wrong because a 3,000-yearold book says so is not valid to anybody that doesn’t share your views.

It’s like me telling you that you shouldn’t eat beef because some people are Hindu, or that you have to circumcise your child because some people are Jewish. It just doesn’t hold water when you take away subjective religious reasoning.

If you think being trans is immoral, don’t transition. If you think abortions are wrong, don’t have one. If you think that because you’re a woman, you should stay home and raise children, then go crazy. Just stop telling other people that they have to do the same.

In my opinion, eliminating religion from politics would do a lot of good—it would force people to think critically about modern day problems and it would decrease the extreme polarization that exists in social politics.

The United States is not a Christian nation, it is a secular governing body making laws and regulations for people of many faiths and belief systems.

Can we please try to keep it that way?

Click here for last week’s Chat with the Chief focused on New Year’s resolutions.